On The Plus Side

     By Karen R. Smith


If you’re a lush and curvy gal, your local shopping choices are limited. There’s Torrid at the malls, of course, along with Lane Bryant. Many of our department stores have eliminated their Plus Size departments in favor of integrating the larger sizes onto the same racks with everything else -- they have done the same with Petite sizes. You can tell because you can watch both groups of women muttering as they wade through the ocean of clothing, hunting for their sizes.

My suggestion is stay home and use your computer. The Plus size world has expanded tremendously in the past few years, and the on-line retailers specializing in your size range have everything you could want. Many offer free shipping, which includes free returns.

Know your dimensions!

A cloth tape measure is your best tool for shopping online in any size range, and even moreso when trying to order plus size garments. As a clothing manufacturer once told me, “Every size 4 gal has roughly the same measurements...so one dress will fit them all. But every size 16 gal is different, because weight accumulates uniquely on every single body. So a size 16 dress will fit only a few individuals.”

Your job, as an on-line plus size shopper, is to figure out which clothes will fit. Checking all the measurements of the garment and your body ahead of time can spare you a lot of trouble and ensure your success. Most plus size retailers have representatives on hand that you can reach by phone as well, which can be handy if you want additional information.


This site routinely offers free shipping for orders over $100 and holds regular sales. Sign up for their emails and you’ll get $10 off your first order; sign up to receive sales texts and you’ll get a one-time 20% off.

They solve the fitting dilemma by constructing most of their garments with give, whether that means an elastic waist or a pleated hip. Most dresses are under $75.


Despite store closures, Target is going strong online, and they have a huge selection of inexpensive plus size clothing. Dresses, jeans and tops in their Who What Wear collection come in sizes up through 4X, and if you still have an open store near you, you can save on shipping by picking up your order at their store. You can do returns at their physical locations too. Almost every plus size item is under $50.


Student discounts, spring sales and other promotions routinely grant shoppers 50% off on this site. Use the “Shop by fit” drop-down menu to find the plus sizes. They have a terrific assortment of bathing suits that will feature those curves at prices hovering around $25 each. Pool parties will be here before you know it!


This retailer bills itself as a lifestyle brand for ladies 2-24. The ruffled Maya skirt is definitely the piece to take your summer separates to the next level, and it’s currently $59.


Use the drop down menu to reach the plus sizes at this youthful style retailer. Jeans hover around $50...dresses a bit less. But sales are regular, and they over discounts by email once you sign up.


Like many foreign-based companies, Cupshe size charts often use centimeters, not inches. Again, that tape measure is a critical tool for finding what will fit you. Also note that there are items where, along with the dimensions, there is a cautionary note advising that they may be off by as much as an inch! These are cheaply made garments at inexpensive prices, so they may be a great resource for getting 14 bathing suits at a deep discount...but half might not fit!


This plus-size only retailer carries clothing in sizes 14-28. Sign up for their emails and get an immediate discount on your first order, and regular announcements of every sale to come. Sign up for texts and get a 40% discount...so you can stock up on their statement-making white shirts ($79.95). The dress sale included summer maxis in halter styles that are perfect for Tucson!


This retailer is part of the group of women’s fashion houses that include Top Shop. Sizes go up to 18 and 20 on most items, but be aware that they rarely show their clothing on plus sized models, so you’ll be guessing as to how they might look. If you have been hankering for Top Shop items, though, they are a good resource.


This requires some explaining...actually, you want to type in Asos Curve because that will get you where you want to be quicker...but they don’t really have an Asos Curve website, because it is a subset of the regular Asos site (Asos-curve-plus-size).

In any case, it’s all worth it because the clothes are marvelous!

Discounts for students (10% off until you graduate) and discounts for signing up for texts (15%) and regular sales. The hot pink floral embroidered belted midi..which would look amazing over jeans as a kimono too.. Is a steal at $151. Visit the sale section of the site for deep discounts!!


Highly styled, right-now fashion in sizes up to 3X and 4X. Inexpensive clothing with regular sales, this site can help you fill out your closet without going broke. If a Kardashian wore it last week, pretty little thing will have a copy this week!

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com